Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Currently Reading: Characters and Viewpoint

I attended a lecture at Origins Game Fair a few years ago, and the most valuable advice I received was a suggestion to buy Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card (ISBN 0-89879-927-9, 173 pages).  I read sections of it shortly after I bought it and found it helpful.  I found it in my bookshelf the other day, and I intend to sit down and read the whole thing before continuing with Otheldo.  After I finish I'll post a review.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Writing a Bad Review

If you're self-published, you are quite literally one of millions.  After you've completed the laborious process of getting your work listed on Amazon and fixing it so it doesn't look too awful bad on a kindle, you've got to somehow get yourself noticed by the multitudes who are going to read your work and want more.  One major part of that particular flaming hoop is to get people to give your work a review.

Most of us have friends and family who say that they'll do that right away.  Most don't, and there are some that you'd really rather not say anything at all.  I'm somewhat borderline.  I tend to be overly critical and when I give something a good review, it sounds a little like flattery no matter how sincere it is.  I write reviews anyway, and I probably shouldn't.

So my current problem is that I've been asked to review someone's work and tell them how good it is, and it sucks.  It's poorly written, formatting is non-existent, the plot is disjointed, the characterization has been skipped because it takes a lot of work and, well, if anyone's reading this they may understand what I'm talking about.  It sucks.  How do I say all that without taking a soldering iron to their fingertips, figuratively speaking?

I think the person in question is looking for a mutual admiration group.  I know these sorts of groups exist, but I've never tried to find one and I wouldn't be interested in joining if I did.  Maybe I should encourage the newly hatched author to seek out and join such a group, and eventually run for club president.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to Life

I'm going to try and bring the blog back to life.  My lack of postings is not due to writer's block; it's a combination of misplaced priorities and the unavoidable condition of personal obstructions getting in the way.  For instance:

The snow.  For all intents and purposes, we are snowed in.  Our driveway is about 1000 feet of unpaved road, and even now that it's been plowed getting anything in or out requires either four wheel drive and a very savvy driver or Divine intervention.

In the middle of this I came down with stomach flu.  I was so incredibly sick that I wanted someone to come and put me out of everyone's misery.  The condition of the driveway prevented any and all good Samaritans from showing up.

Right after I survived, Mom came down with the same flu and, at the same time, came down with a bad case of sciatica.  So Mom is in so much pain she can't walk, and because of the flu she can't take any pills.  And again, because the ground is frozen to the consistency of iron, I can't shoot her because then what would I do about digging her a grave?  You can argue that I could just wrap her up in a tarp and put her out in the barn until Spring, but we all know how that kind of thing goes.  And this is Mom we're talking about here, not some pesky neighbor who doesn't really matter anyway.

Well, Mom survived the flue and recovered from sciatica.  So that's good.

So I guess I'm back at it.  I'm writing another anthology of short stories featuring Otheldo, and the ideas are coming faster than I can adequately get them on paper.  There are worse things, I suppose.  Like being outside in the snow and ice.